London, United Kingdom
Heathrow Terminal 4, shortly after the opening of the new Terminal 5, is a strange place. Part building site, part village fete. The problem is that any of the staff with any skill or aptitude has been moved to T5 to kelp sort out the mess and so what you’re left with is a collection of 3rd party incompetents and trainees, none of whom speak English as a native language. One advantage is that you think you’ve arrived in a foreign country before you’ve left. The downside is that the overall air of incompetence and confusion become contagious. It started at the scanning belt and advanced rapidly to everyone we met. Elly became infected as she tried to buy 4 items at Boots in a transaction that would have left the average bond trader stumped. Part reward points, part cash, part credit card and part leveraged debt for equity options contract. Eventually it was sorted out. I bought some duty-free and witnessed a wonderful exchange between a 15 year old Polish sales assistant and a 80 year old Middle Eastern man. Assistant: “Boarding pass please” Passenger ” No understand” Assistant “Boarding pass….. ticket” Passenger “No understand” Assistant “Boarding pass ……ticket……. passport” Passenger ” No understand” Assistant “Passport – small book with picture of you” Passenger “You want take picture of me?” etc Then off to the smaller BA Lounge as the big one was closed. It was wonderful, it felt like we had left the Lower Chiddingfold Annual Bring and Buy Fair run by the Trainee Wing of the Guild of Village Idiots and returned to grown-up world. How bad are things at Heathrow that the worst BA can do looks like the hight of efficiency, Then onto a packed flight to Sydney via Bangkok. The travel gods were on our side as our companion moved which meant we had 3 seats between the two of us. It is always amazing that on a flight an additional 3 or 4 inches make all the difference. As we had gorged on free BA sandwiches we could avoid the repulsive slop on board. “Brown, white or pink?” “Sorry sir we’ve run out of the white and pink so you’ll have to have the brown” We had run out of Internet Valium but Jody had supplied some Indian. No real side-effects, Elly now sings with a pleasing baritone and with my stunning new breasts I open at Ladyboy-a-GoGo in Patpong on Tuesday We slept brilliantly. I was unconscious over Vienna and apart from 5 minutes over the Caspian Sea was out of it until Rangoon.